We had the privilege to attend the recollection led by Bishop Ambo David to the members of the CFC Board of Elders and the International Council tonight. Thank God for the gift of technology we were able to watch it live via UStream. :D
Bishop Ambo talked about stewardship as discussed in the pastoral letter (Stewardship: A Disciple's Response) on the topic released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
According to the letter, A Christian steward is one who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner, shares them in justice and love with others and returns them with increase to the Lord.
From that statement, we derive the four characteristics of a Christian steward, namely:
1. Receives God's gifts gratefully.
"For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." (Matthew 13:12)
The key to having more is gratefulness. As what I have learned from a Tito during my visit to Our Lady of Banneux, we just need to count our blessings, think of the things we have, and we would realize how rich we are. But if we focus on what we don't have, then we'll end up being the most miserable, poorest person in the world.
Bishop Ambo added this beautiful insight: truth is, those who "don't have" actually do have, but they just don't think that it is enough. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
It has been proven that the real secret to happiness is gratefulness. Each of us is given time, talent, and treasure. And God being the just God that He is, left no one ungifted. The difference lies only in how we receive those gifts. :)
2. Cultivates them responsibly.
We don't end with just receiving the gifts. We need to nurture them, cultivate them that they may develop and bear much fruit. God desires our abundance. In John 10:10, Jesus said, "I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." The only way we can have abundance is to cultivate the gifts that we have received from the Lord, through His grace. The keyword is responsibly. As what Fr. Freddie shared last Sunday, "Do the right thing for the right reason and for the right purpose." :)
3. Shares them in loving justice with others.
Because we don't own the gifts, we are merely stewards, we are to share them with others. After all, the second greatest commandment is to love one's neighbor as himself. One can give without loving, but one cannot love without giving. Thus, we are telling the Lord we love Him each time we love, share, and treat with justice the people whom He also loves. Isn't it the measure by which we would be judged someday? :) And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:40)
4. Returns them with increase to the Lord.
God can never be outdone in generosity. And if we believe that the more we give, the more we receive (which has been proven time and again), then the same principle applies to our giving back to God. In the Parable of the Talents, the servants who returned with increase to the master were rewarded more than what they have given. And to each of them, the master said, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much." (Matthew 25:21, 23). Give to God what belongs to Him. Never be afraid to give more. :)
This Advent, as we await the coming of our Lord and King, let us be faithful stewards - grateful for everything, takes responsibility over the things entrusted to us, generously shares what we have, and not hesitant to give more back to the God who loved us first and who constantly shower us with Divine graces. ♥
|Photo Credit: Roman Catholic Diocese of Lubbock|